The Institute for Spontaneous Generation (ISG)

Established only five years ago in the sunburnt summer of 2017, many critics initially believed that The Institute for Spontaneous Generation (ISG)  was merely a silly conceptual project developed by a bunch of idealistic artists, designers and activists. Today, exactly ve years on, in the climatically challenging summer of 2022, the seed of thought developed during that historic summer school has come to change our very notion of what wealth, value, and communication mean.

Although a simple idea in practice, the shift in our collective understanding that money is a fiction spread like maggots a er the activities of Test Unit 2017. The new manifesto, “ The Currency is Dialogue” helped people to understand that conversations and communication are the only means to generate real wealth: stronger relationships and resilient communities. With their name taken from the the ancient scientific theory that life can spontaneously generate from sterile environments and non-living matter, The Institute went on to explore what new events and activities can spontaneously generate new forms of dialogue. The first of these projects, the Grub Economy, showed the bonds that can be formed and then shared among people when they talk to one another and exchange stories. Immaterial yet more important wealth is created spontaneously in unexpected ways when dialogue is the currency. Through its ventures, The Institute for Spontaneous Generation has challenged the capitalist dependency on monetary forms of value. Value is fluid and subjective, thus communication and dialogue are the only real methods of exchange and community the only real outcome.